BENGALURU: TeamIndus, the country's sole entrant for the Lunar XPRIZE, a worldwide competition to put a rover on the Moon, will be allowing curious scientists and space enthusiasts into its facility in Jakkur on May 5 as part of a special open house day. People interested in the ambitious "moonshot" project will be able to visit the mission facility, understand how it is being developed and listen to engineers and scientists speak about their experience in building the spacecraft and the rover ECA which is slated to land on the Moon.
Earlier this year, TeamIndus suffered a major setback after Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) pulled out of an agreement to launch their spacecraft very close to the launch deadline. The deal fell through due to problems with payments by the team which was also struggling to raise funds. Consequently, since they could not launch the spacecraft, they missed the competition deadline of March 31 and then Google, the sponsor of the $20 million prize, also declined to extend the deadline leaving the entire programme in the lurch.
However, with the XPRIZE foundation deciding to continue the competition, albeit without a prize purse, TeamIndus now has another chance to win the global race and emerge on top. The open day on May 5 will help provide an insight on how the team is looking to achieve this feat with the time left for it.
"This event will include a special talk by N C Bhat, former group director, Spacecraft Mechanisms, ISAC, ISRO and currently TeamIndus structures and mechanisms expert. The soft-spoken Bhat sir was due to become only the second Indian in space in the mid-eighties after NASA had shortlisted him to be India’s first astronaut, as a payload specialist. That was before Space Shuttle Challenger tragically disintegrated 73 seconds after launch, bringing a temporary halt to the shuttle program," an invite sent out by TeamIndus to followers said.
Registrations for the visit close at 6 pm on April 30 and the cost for a ticket is `1,200.